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Pentagon Weighs Top Iraq General as Chief of NATO
WASHINGTON – The Pentagon is considering Gen. David H. Petraeus for the top NATO command later this year, a move that would give the general, the top American commander in Iraq, a high-level post during the next administration but that has raised concerns about the practice of rotating war commanders.
A senior Pentagon official said that it was weighing “a next assignment for Petraeus” and that the NATO post was a possibility. “He deserves one and that has also always been a highly prestigious position,” the official said. “So he is a candidate for that job, but there have been no final decisions and nothing on the timing.”
Highly Skilled And Out Of Work
Long-Term Joblessness Spreads in Middle Class
Monday, January 21, 2008; Page A01
An unusually large share of workers have been out a job for more than six months even as overall unemployment has remained low, a little-noted weakness in the labor market that analysts said threatens to intensify the impact of the unfolding economic downturn.
In November, nearly 1.4 million people — almost one in five of those unemployed — had been jobless for at least 27 weeks, the juncture when unemployment insurance benefits end for most recipients. That is about twice the level of long-term unemployment before the 2001 recession.
Shut out by GOP, independents may tilt Democratic
January 21, 2008
SAN MATEO — — Medea Bern, once a registered Republican, is one of a growing number of California voters who shun party membership and declare themselves independent. In the upcoming presidential election, that makes her the kind of voter all the candidates would like to reach.
But when it comes to California’s Feb. 5 primary, there is only one major party where she’s welcome: the Democratic Party. She isn’t allowed to cast her ballot in the Republican primary, and that upsets her.
She might be inclined to vote for Republican Sen. John McCain, but instead finds herself weighing a choice between Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
“It really makes me mad,” she said. “I haven’t decided which candidate to vote for, but I’m not happy that my voice is eliminated on the Republican side. Don’t they trust the independent vote?”
Hardliner set for Serbia poll win
Hardline nationalist Tomislav Nikolic has won the first round of Serbian presidential elections, but will face a run-off poll, partial results suggest.
Mr Nikolic, who leans towards Russia, appeared to have won about 39%, while the more pro-EU President, Boris Tadic, had 35%, polling officials said.
Mr Nikolic said his party could not be stopped. Mr Tadic said he was certain of victory in the 3 Feb run-off.
The poll is seen as key for Serbia’s future, with tensions high over Kosovo.
Government braced for revolt to force EU referendum
Senior ministers are bracing themselves for the most significant revolt Gordon Brown has faced when Eurosceptic Labour rebels join forces with the Conservatives to try to force a referendum on the EU’s Lisbon treaty.
With more than 60 Liberal Democrats planning to abstain, the government’s majority should be safe, unless rebel claims of 100 backbench supporters prove more accurate than colleagues believe.
MPs will only learn this morning whether Speaker Martin has decided to accept the referendum amendment from Labour’s Ian Davidson and 18 colleagues – in the absence of one from the Tories.
Delhi’s troublesome monkeys roughed up by bounty-hunters
Published: 21 January 2008
When the order went out to round up Delhi’s trouble-making monkeys, little thought was given to the methods that might be used. Now it appears that some bounty-hunters drawn to the task have been more than a little rough with the miscreants in their custody.
Animal rights campaigners say more and more of the monkeys captured and brought to the Asola-Bhatti sanctuary on the edge of the city are showing signs of serious injury. This week, one monkey had to be taken to a charitable animal clinic for treatment to a wound in its shoulder.
“The monkeys are being caught in a horrible way,” said Dr Gautman Borat, a vet and founder of the Friendicoes animal charity, which treated the injured animal. “They are caught with ropes and tongs and the nets are not used properly. There is no proper training.”
Moving day Helmand style: how to turn a farm into a fortress
The soldiers’ knock on the gate came just after 8am on a bitter morning of freezing rain. The Afghans were already awake and tending their livestock inside the compound. There were nearly 50, the extended family of five brothers. Farmers, they had lived in their area for generations. Their ancestors lay buried in a cemetery on a knoll above their home.
“I told them there was bad news,” Warrant Officer Les Bering, the Danish soldier, said. “That they had to go.”
Unknown to the Afghans, their home was the focal point of Operation Thunder, an ambitious British and Danish plan to seize, hold and build on a chunk of territory in the Taleban heartland of the Upper Gereshk Valley, central Helmand. Their spacious compound just happened to be the intended base for FOB Armadillo, a new base of Nato troops. So they had to move. That very day.
Kenyans hacked to death with machetes
NAIROBI, Kenya – Several people were beaten and hacked to death with machetes in a Nairobi slum Sunday in renewed ethnic fighting over Kenya’s disputed election, residents said.
Elsewhere, police managed to quell more than two days of fierce fighting around a Catholic monastery that killed 22 people and left 200 homes burned in the Rift Valley, 190 miles northwest of the capital Nairobi, officials said.
The re-election of President Mwai Kibaki has tapped into a well of resentments that resurfaces regularly at election time in Kenya. But never before has it been so prolonged or taken so many lives.
Signs in Kenya That Killings Were Planned
KERINGET, Kenya – At first the violence seemed as spontaneous as it was shocking, with machete-wielding mobs hacking people to death and burning women and children alive in a country that was celebrated as one of Africa’s most stable.
But a closer look at what has unfolded in the past three weeks, since a deeply flawed election plunged Kenya into chaos, shows that some of the bloodletting that has left more than 650 people dead may have been premeditated and organized.
The Populists Retreat
Why Latin America’s firebrands are softening their rhetoric-and emboldening the opposition.
A rather chastened Hugo Chávez recently addressed his fellow Venezuelans on his weekly television program, “Aló Presidente.” “I’m obliged to apply the brakes,” said Chávez, referring to the pace of political and economic change the country should expect this year, after voters rejected a government-backed package of constitutional reforms in December. Soon after, his Bolivian ally Evo Morales made conciliatory gestures of his own, opening unity talks two weeks ago with provincial governors from opposition parties. “Let’s work together to resolve our differences,” said the Bolivian president.
Bomber Kills Sunni Allies of the U.S.
BAGHDAD – A teenager holding a box of candy strode into a gathering of Sunni Arab tribal members near Falluja and detonated an explosive belt, killing four people and wounding nine, members of the Issawi tribe said Sunday. It was the second major bomb attack to strike American allies in Anbar Province in two days.
In Anbar, once the cradle of the insurgency, violence dropped last year after Sunni tribes joined the American-backed Awakening movement and rebelled against Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and other militants. But the attack on Sunday, as well as a three-stage suicide car bombing Saturday near Ramadi that killed at least five Iraqi policemen, show that cells of militants remain active and organized in the sprawling Sunni-dominated province.
Frontline Blogger Covers War in Iraq With a Soldier’s Eyes
Michael Yon was not a journalist, and he wasn’t sure what a blogger was. He had been in uniform but not in combat, and he wanted to keep it that way. He went to Iraq thinking he would stay for a month, and maybe find a way to write about the war after he got home.
Instead, he has spent most of the last three years in Iraq, writing prolifically and graphically, and racking up more time embedded with combat units than any other journalist, according to the United States military. He has been shot at, buffeted by explosions and seen more people maimed – fighters and civilians, adults and children – than he can count.